Sunday, October 4, 2009

Closing the Door Firmly

WOW, so I've been thinking about writing this post for about a month, and then I read the article below, on "You Can't Do What You Want by Doing Something Else", and had some further thoughts... then, in the last twenty four hours I've talked to about half a dozen other people, and in the course of the conversation, we've come to what basically amounts to the contents of this post. Sheesh, I guess I'd better write it!

From Bruce Eckle's post: There's a quote that appears again and again in various forms: "close one door, another opens." It seems like magical thinking until you see it happen. And it only happens when you don't leave the door partially open, but instead firmly close it. For some reason, being certain that you're ready to move on does cause some kind of magic to happen, and I don't know why.

This reminded me of something that my friend Aubrey recently went through, she posted the following on her FaceBook page after she unexpectedly lost her job: "My job was annulled today. That's a first. Funny how working the wrong job (wow you should meet my ex-managers) feels worse than the space left over when it goes away. Must be making a big space for something good!"

Aubrey and I chatted about this a little bit more, and I loved that her understanding of the pain of something ending is the feeling of space being made for something bigger.

Putting those two thoughts together brought me here:

In my life, I used to "play it safe". I used to make SURE that the next door was open before I closed the one I was walking through. In FACT, I used to make sure that as many doors were left open beind me as possible. What I didn't realize (and I should, because my mom used to wonder if I was born in a barn quite often...) is that when you leave all the doors open, its terribly drafty!

I used to do it in relationships, I'd make sure that my next one was all lined up before I left the one I was in, I used to do it in my profession, I'd make sure that everyone around me agreed it was a good gamble before I'd try it.

Its like trying to grab onto a flying trapeze while holding a string of dental floss between your fingers. That little distraction, your little "safely" of the thing before, of the "other" keeps you from committing 100% of your energy towards success.

And this reminds me of the dry land training that I used to do for skating. We'd work out on a jump box, doing a series of complicated power enhancing moves up to the top of the box, and the boxes got successively higher, and the jump got increasingly more difficult.

(For the insatiably curious, get a box thats about 25" off the ground to start. Jump with both feet from a stand still to the top of the box. No steps or running jumps. Now, jump with just one foot, and land on the other. You may swing your free foot, but no steps or running jumps. Static take off. NOW, jump from one foot and land on the same foot. Same deal, static take off.)

To succeed at this, you must see yourself doing it. You must focus on momentum, you must see the arc of your body, you must relax and let your core do the work, you must give all you have while staying relaxed. You must feel your muscles fire all the way down to the tip top of your toe pushing finally off the ground.

If, during this process, you are holding onto the thought "but I should be ready just in case I catch my foot on the bench and fall over" or "Its likely that I will not clear the box, and the fall is going to hurt" you will, most likely, not make it. And trust me, that is painful.

To succeed at this exercise (which is great training for anyone who is trying to learn to do an Axle, by the way), you must let go of all safety and self preservation, you must surrender to your commitment to execute this maneuver, and you must only focus on the things you need to do physically in order to succeed. "What if I fall" or "Don't fall" are not things that help your physical body accomplish the task at hand.

I think its the same in life. I think that to be free to find what you need in a relationship, you have to close the door firmly on your last one. That is not to say that you need to be cruel. That is to say that you need to be finished, and that they need to know it, and you need to know it, and then there needs to be a period of time in which you are finished before you are really emotionally available to anyone else, including yourself.

I think that to be free to see the potential on your path in your career, you need to close the door firmly on past obligations, on safety's, on what society, or your parents, or your sister, or your high school history teacher would think was wise or the "right" thing to to.

You must let go of the idea of holding onto the dental floss, "just in case", so that you have your whole mind and both hands free to catch that trapeze bar when it swings your way.

Thoughts? Personal experiences? I love love that so many of you email me and share these things with me, if you can, please post them here as a comment so the rest of the community can benefit from your experience! We all are SO much less alone in this than you'd ever imagine.

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